It was Aaron’s last IEP meeting for elementary school yesterday. These are meetings held at the school twice a year for kids with ‘designations’ like mine. I am famous for being whacked out with stress and crying at these meetings. This year I did not cry at all.
This is perhaps significant only to me, but after 23 years of being a mother, I think I’ve finally matured. I don’t walk into these meetings with all guns blazing. I have decided to give everybody who shows up to Aaron’s meeting the benefit of the doubt: they are not all my enemies. The very fact they sitting around the table means they are interested in my son’s learning. I walked out realizing that they are all doing their best with what they’ve got. Did so many people show up at that meeting (including the principal of his new high school) because we’ve been labelled as pain in the butt parents? Why yes they did! (I choose to wear this as a badge of honour instead of shame). Do we have to supplement our son’s learning with privately paid programs to help advance his reading? Why yes we do! Welcome to BC. It is what it is.
Here’s another thing that helped. My kind colleague Isabel Jordan shared this video from Shane Koyczan‘s spoken word masterpiece ‘This is my Voice.’ Now there was something about knowing that I had a voice that mattered – even if I didn’t have to use it strongly yesterday – that gave me great comfort. I felt equal at that meeting table, with my voice tucked into my back pocket just in case I needed it. My voice is my secret weapon.
The next time you have a challenging phone call, or appointment or meeting, listen to Shane. He will reassure you that you’ve got everything inside of you to do what you need to do.